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Fremont Ross Class of 1985

Fremont Ross Class of 1985
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Win #603...Ross wins in wild finish pt. 1

The Fremont Ross Little Giants may have earned an OHSAA Division I football playoff spot, but they needed an amazing second-half comeback to do it.
Ross (8-2 overall, 4-1 Greater Buckeye Conference) overcame arch-rival Sandusky (4-6, 2-3) with a 26-20 decision Friday night at Don Paul Stadium. But the Little Giants had to first do two things successfully — find a way to shut down league-leading rusher Eric Jordan and generate an offensive attack — before posting the thrilling rally.
The game was sealed for the second straight week by Ross defensive back Brett Mierke, whose interception of Sandusky quarterback Zach Esposito at the Little Giants’ 5-yard line ended the Blue Streaks’ final threat.
“It was the same thing as last week, I just had to make a good play on the ball,” Mierke said. “It wasn’t the best game (we played) tonight, but we got the job done. That’s all that matters.”
Jordan ran 41 times for a game-high 326 yards, but was held out of the end zone. In the second half, Little Giants’ running back James Spencer came to life, scoring three TDs on carries of 55, 32 and 1 yards as Ross overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit to tie the contest at 20 on his 2-point conversion run with 6:18 left.
Spencer finished with 241 yards on 25 carries.
“We knew we had to win this game,” Spencer said. “In the first half, we didn’t play as well as we could have play, and at halftime, we had a talk. We knew this was going to be a big game anyway. So, we decided to kick it up (a notch) and play harder.”
Spencer believes his 2-point conversion run caught Sandusky by surprise.
“(The hole up the middle) was really wide open, and I don’t think Sandusky expected it,” Spencer said. “I think they though it was going to go to the right, but surprise, surprise, it wasn’t. And all I had to do was follow the lead of (left tackle) ‘Big’ Nate Halbeisen all night.”
Mierke said he believes Spencer is a candidate for Little Giants’ MVP.
“If anyone should get Player of the Year, Spencer definitely deserves it because he comes to play every night for us. That’s what I love about him.”
The Little Giants, who trailed 20-12 with 7:48 left after Blue Streaks’ second quarterback Willie Irbe pushed his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run, drove 90 yards in 7 plays, capped by Spencer’s 1-yard TD plunge 90 seconds later.
But when Ross went to kick the ball back to Sandusky, it surprised the Blue Streaks by using a short, high-arching boot that was fumbled away by Sandusky and recovered by the Little Giants’ Greg Brown.
On Ross’s ensuing play, Brown took an option-pitch from Little Giants quarterback Cody Foos to the end zone on a 37-yard run with 6:08 left.
“(Kicker) Kenny Hamilton came up big for us tonight,” Ross coach Derek Kidwell said. “That wasn’t a mistake because we purposely wanted to pooch those kicks into the dead zone. Greg Brown had a great hit before recovering the ball on the first one.
In the span of 1:40, Ross turned an 8-point deficit (20-12) into a 6-point lead (26-20) by handing the ball to Spencer before Brown recovered the first of two pooched kickoffs.
“I’m just extremely proud of these seniors to be down 10-0 at halftime and with 7 minutes left. They stayed true to the family concept, didn’t point fingers or start bickering. They believed in one another.”
But the Little Giants’ defense was forced to hold on. After forcing Sandusky to punt after a three-and-out, Spencer tried to run down the clock by picking up a Ross first down.
However, Phil Henderson recovered Spencer’s second fumble of the game at the Blue Streaks’ 42, where Jordan ran twice to get the Ross 24 before a penalty led to Esposito’s interception.
Ross won the battle of total yards 395-349 in the game, but were outgained 335-287 on the ground.
Behind Sandusky linemen Donovan Cole, Alex Jones, Jeremy Strohm, DaQuez Davis and Eddie Wimbley, Jordan and the Blue Streaks’ offense dominated the first half.
Sandusky outgained Ross 154-73 in total yards during the first 24 minutes. With Jordan, the Blue Streaks ran the ball 32 times on their 35 plays from scrimmage. He accounted for 137 first-half yards on 24 carries.
“We didn’t get the ball a lot in the first half,” Foos said. The Little Giants used 16 plays in the first 24 minutes. “It seemed like we were all off on different pages. The defense was on the field for a long time, and that really hurt.”
Jordan helped Sandusky take time off the clock with an opening drive that ate up nearly 5 minutes on 12 plays. The Blue Streaks moved the ball from their own 31 to the Ross 41, where a pair of penalties and the Little Giants’ defense forced Sandusky to punt.
“We shut him down last year, but he was ready to run this year, Foos said. “He played a pretty good game.”

Re: Win #603...Ross wins in wild finish pt. 2

But the Ross offense couldn’t generate any momentum. The Little Giants went three-and out on their first drive and turned the ball over to Sandusky after Spencer fumbled at the Blue Streaks’ 14 after Ross drove 28 yards on seven plays.

Sandusky took a 7-0 lead with 24 seconds left in the first quarter after forcing Ross to punt on its first possession. Jordan ran eight times as the Blue Streaks used 11 plays to find the end zone on a 14-yard pass from Esposito to Rayshawn Daniels.

Foos (6-of-14, 112 yards, 1 INT) and the Ross offense were plagued by five dropped passes by Little Giants’ receivers. The Little Giants had only three first-quarter plays.

It became 10-0 Sandusky after Ross’s second of the first half. The Blue Steaks took over at the Little Giants’ 40, where Jordan ran five straight times to the Ross 15. Eric Hille drilled a 32-yard field goal with 4 seconds left in the first half.

At halftime, linebacker Brad Woleslagel said the Little Giants talked about adjusting their run defense.

“We brought our outside linebackers in on the tackles to give us a little more outside running support and made them run the ball up the middle,” Woleslagel said. “We knew that our offense would eventually be able to score, we just had to give them more opportunities.”

Kidwell said the Little Giants had to account for a mismatch in size between Sandusky’s offensive line and Ross’s 3-5 defense.

“We wanted to cover every one of their offensive linemen because they were big and we were undersized,” Kidwell said. “We had to make them earn everything they got.”

It became a 10-6 game early in the third quarter, when Spencer ran 55 yards on the fourth play from scrimmage at the 10:05 mark.

The Ross runner appeared to have been stopped as he ran up the middle, but a second effort by Spencer allowed him to break into the open field, where he burned the Blue Streaks’ defenders in a race to the end zone.

However, the extra-point attempt of kicker Adam Loucks failed, and the Little Giants could not trim their deficit to a field goal.

Sandusky responded with a 9-play, 65-yard drive that featured the running of Jordan on the first eight plays. But on third-and-goal from the Ross 4, Irbe’s pass attempt to the end zone fell incomplete before Hille drilled a 21-yard field goal at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter to give the Blue Streaks a 13-6 lead.

Ross’s offense began to function more efficiently toward the end of the third quarter, but could not tie the game. Mierke caught a 32-yard pass from Foos on third-and-17 before Spencer capped a four-play drive wirh a 32-yard touchdown run.

But when the Little Giants decided to go for a 2-point conversion, Justin Hines dropped a pass from Foos in the end zone as Ross trailed 13-12 at the 3:20 mark.